Many Kentucky adults enrolling in higher education after getting GED diplomaby Jackson French BG Daily News
A new study suggests the number of Kentucky adults receiving GED diplomas who later enroll in universities is on the rise.
The rates at which adults with GED diplomas are going to college in four local counties are varied, according to Brian Becker, director of Adult Education at Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College, though a trend of growth is being seen in the area.
SKYCTC's Adult Education program oversees GED instruction and testing in Warren, Barren, Metcalfe and Simpson counties. In these counties, according to Becker's statistics, adults earning GED diplomas have been on the rise.
According to the Kentucky Center for Education and Workforce Statistics, of 282 adults earning GED diplomas between fiscal years 2009 and 2014 in Barren County, 89 enrolled in institutes of higher learning, as did 184 of the 410 GED earners in Warren, 31 of 107 in Metcalfe and 30 out of 130 in Simpson.
GED attainment declined in the area prior to the GED Testing Service's January decision to lower the minimum passing score for its high school equivalency exam from 150 points to 145 out of 200, though the number of people getting their GED diplomas has been creeping up since then, he said.
"For a lot of students, that put it in reach," he said. "There must have been a lot of students getting hung up in that range."
Part of this increase is due to the lower minimum score meaning fewer people need to retake the test and an increase in local employers requiring employees to have GED diplomas, Becker said.
"We've had an increase in GED attainment. I think we'll continue to see the trend go up," he said. "It seems like students are motivated to go to college."
A news release from the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education said that 37 percent of Kentucky's 22,942 GED recipients from fiscal years 2009 to 2011 enrolled in postsecondary education.
We are pleased that a substantial number of GED graduates are pursuing postsecondary education to earn certificates, associate or bachelor s degrees, Reecie Stagnolia, vice president of Adult Education, which the Council on Postsecondary Education runs, said in the release. However, we are focused on increasing that number since it is essential in today s economy to have some postsecondary education to earn family-sustaining wages.
The release also said that four out of every five adults receiving a GED diploma going on to college enrolled in schools in the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, a trend Becker said he's seen locally.
Because SKYCTC's Adult Education handles the GED process in four counties, all of which except Metcalfe have a SKYCTC campus, many find moving on to college curriculum at SKYCTC a natural transition, he said.
"There's some familiarity there already," he said.
Stagnolia, when reached by the Daily News, said many people are using the GED diploma as a stepping stone to higher education rather than as a destination. "The GED is simply not enough to succeed in today's economy," he said.
By 2020, more than 60 percent of jobs in Kentucky will require some level of higher education, he said.
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